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Vandenberg Airmen overseas: U.S., Kyrgyz officials participate in joint EOD, CBRNE exercise

Staff Sgt. Igor Pogrebnyak (middle) translates Senior Airman Nate Gunty’s explanation of a ADM-300 radiological detection machine to Cholpon Chekirova during an information exchange at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, Nov. 22, 2011. Chekirova is a member of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Services. Pogrebnyak is a Theater Security Cooperation linguist deployed from Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Gunty is a 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives response specialist deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore)

Staff Sgt. Igor Pogrebnyak (middle) translates Senior Airman Nate Gunty’s explanation of a ADM-300 radiological detection machine to Cholpon Chekirova during an information exchange at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, Nov. 22, 2011. Chekirova is a member of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Services. Pogrebnyak is a Theater Security Cooperation linguist deployed from Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Gunty is a 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives response specialist deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore)

TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Emergency responders from the Kyrgyz Ministries of Emergency Services, Interior and Defense participated in a joint explosive ordnance disposal and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives response exercise here with their American counterparts Nov. 22.

The exercise was part of a continuing partnership information exchange program that familiarizes Kyrgyz experts with Air Force CBRNE and EOD tactics, techniques and procedures.

For the scenario the joint CBRNE and EOD teams were sent to clear an apartment that intelligence reports indicated was being used by an extremist cell to make dirty bombs. The EOD teams entered the apartment with a robot to check for explosives devices and to test the room for radioactive materials. They then sent a team into with equipment to x-ray a suspicious package.

This is the second joint response exercise for Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Hansen, 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of emergency management.

Today's exercise focused around a radiological threat, something that is a concern, said Hansen, who is deployed here from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. "By working together through scenarios like this we learn to interchangeably use our skills and gain confidence in our ability to work together."

Master Sgt. Susanne Bell, who also participated in the prior exercise, briefed the group about radiation limits, standards, exposure levels, and the effect of radiation on a person's health.

The last exercise was very different because it focused on a potential biological hazard, said Bell, 376th Expeditionary Medical Group NCO in charge of bioenvironmental engineering deployed here from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. This scenario was a lot more hands on. The EOD team practiced running the robot and using it to take radiation measurements, she added.

Kyrgyz Republic Lt. Col. Azamat Kurmanaliev, an MOD senior civil engineer with an EOD background, feels these exchanges are very beneficial. Kurmanaliev studied EOD with the Russian military.

"I came here and saw there were similarities and differences in the way that you do things than how I was taught," he said. "So I took some of these elements and have implemented them into our training program. That is why exchanges like this are so important."